Natalie Portman explains transformation into Jackie Kennedy
The Academy Award winner shares what it took to embody the former first lady for 'Jackie' movie.
The much-hyped new film about Jackie Kennedy starring Natalie Portman had its U.S. premiere last night at the annual New York Film Festival. The Israeli-American actress is already receiving rave reviews for her role, and she's an odds-on early favorite for an Oscar nomination.
During a Q&A after the film, the Academy Award-winning actress revealed how she embodies such an iconic character.
"The voice is very particular," she told the audience. "And the voice is different when she speaks publicly and privately." Portman trained with voice dialect coach Tanya Blumstein who has worked on everything from "King Kong" to "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Portman said she drew from the many books about the former first lady as well as the myriad interviews and White House tours she gave on video. In particular, she listened to the eight hours of audio interviews between Jackie Kennedy and historian Arthur Schlesinger.
“There is so much material on Jackie,” Portman explained. “It was lucky and overwhelming, all at once. I read whatever I could. The most helpful was the Schlesinger book, because it’s exact transcripts of her interviews with Schlesinger right after the assassination. There are audio tapes that accompany them, so you can read it and listen to them at the same time.”
For Portman, who has much in common with Jackie Kennedy, she said the role was an honor to play. "It was wonderful to get to consider Jackie as a human being and not just as a thing. I think we've seen her so long as this facade, and as this icon. It was great to get to consider her humanity."
For the red carpet event, Portman donned a Dior dress that revealed her baby bump. Her and husband Benjamin Millepied are already parents to 5-year-old son Aleph.
"Jackie" opens in theaters on Dec. 2.
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